Éclat. Brillar. Lámpsi. Toa sáng. Scheinen. Shine.
This year’s Shine Gala, themed “It’s a Small World,” celebrated the uniqueness of world cultures and the love God has for all people, no matter where they come from.
Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker Campus hosted Shine, the annual gala for adults with disabilities, Friday, Oct. 12.
Guests arrived at the front doors and walked the red carpet, eager to dance, sing karaoke and enjoy a night of fun with new and old friends.
Volunteers on the cheer team donned cultural dress from around the world, from kilts and kimonos to sombreros and saris, and welcomed each of the more than 1,200 guests by name.
Shine guests and volunteers dressed up in gowns and tuxedos. Some even wore crowns, wide-brimmed hats and tiaras.
In addition to singing and dancing, guests and escorts spent the evening playing games, getting pampered at the salon, taking photos and eating dinner together.
There was something fun for everyone.
Some guests, like Joshua Weyrauch, didn’t leave the dance floor until the last song finished.
Weyrauch brought along his parents, as well as his nieces and nephew. It was his first time visiting Southeast, and the whole family spent most of the night dancing and laughing together.
“We’re so grateful that this church hosts something just for Joshua and others like him,” Joshua’s mom, Tina Weyrauch said. “This is really special. We already can’t wait to come back next year.”
Southeast member Hannah Adcock had a blast singing karaoke with her friends. She said that Shine is her favorite night of the year.
Emily Gipe has attended Shine and other Disabilities Ministry events for years. She found the perfect dress in August and was looking forward to wearing it.
Her favorite part of the night was playing bingo.
“I’ve never won, but I still love to play,” she said. “I just love Southeast, and I’m glad that they welcome people with disabilities really well. They’ve helped so many people feel loved, including me.”
Southeast staff members and an army of nearly 2,000 volunteers served in numerous capacities to make the night special for each guest who walked the red carpet.
Associate Pastor Matt Reagan and Blankenbaker Campus Pastor Neal Gossett wore white tuxedos as they greeted guests on the red carpet.
It was Reagan’s birthday, and every guest on the dance floor celebrated at the end of the evening with a loud, joyful rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”
“It is my privilege to be able to be here with you all,” Reagan said to guests as the event finished. “We just want you to know—every single person in the room—that we love you. The very special people who got to escort you and got to come with you love you, and there’s a God who loves you, too. You’re welcome here always, and we hope you had a great night.”